Years of excitement finally paid off in 2015 when Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released to record-breaking box office numbers and glowing critical praise. Although the film wasn’t without flaws of its own, it was a vast improvement from the divisive prequel trilogy and helped restore the spirit of Star Wars that longtime fans expect, bringing those elements to a whole new generation.
With Star Wars: The Last Jedi set to release on Dec. 15, 2017, we explore some of the events and plot points we think might play integral roles in the saga’s next chapter.
1. The truth about Rey
One of the central questions surrounding The Force Awakens is why Rey (Daisy Ridley) was left behind on Jakku all those years ago. Much speculation has centered on who her parents are, with the most popular (and probably correct) answer being that Luke Skywalker is her father.
Although the film did little more than hint at the answers, The Last Jedi needs to address this lingering mystery in order to move forward with its own story. We’d prefer it if Rian Johnson’s film doesn’t ape the “I am your father” twist, but now that Luke is finally a factor in the story, expect some kind of resolution.
2. Blasts from the past
Aside from brief vocal cameos by Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi, The Force Awakens stayed away from shoehorning past characters into the film unless they fit the story at hand, choosing to place the focus on new additions like Rey, Finn (John Boyega), and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
However, now that fans have embraced this next generation of heroes and villains, the time seems right for even more connective tissue between the films to be established. We’ve already delved deeper into who we think might be up for a return and can’t wait to see what familiar faces pop up.
3. Rey and Luke vs. Kylo Ren
Sure, Finn and Rey separately tried to take on Snoke’s emotionally conflicted apprentice, with only the latter hero able to hold her own against the cross-guarded red saber. However, now that she will presumably be training under the legendary Luke Skywalker, chances are high that student and teacher will face off against mysterious baddie Kylo Ren in an epic showdown, likely near the climax of The Last Jedi.
Fans have already seen similar three-person battles before — most notably in The Phantom Menace — but the thought of Luke taking on his former apprentice (and nephew!) with his new Padawan by his side is simply too exciting to resist.
4. A buddy adventure for Poe and Finn
Following the release of The Force Awakens, reports flooded in that the script for The Last Jedi was being retooled to take into consideration fans’ reaction to new characters. Considering that Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron was originally supposed to die early on, we’re betting that the updated version of the script features much more of the fan-favorite character.
Plus, with Rey’s storyline likely tied closely to Luke’s in the new film, perhaps Poe and Finn can set off on their own mission for the First Order, especially since those two characters (and their fun chemistry) is among the most popular elements of the new trilogy.
5. Enter the bounty hunters
The Empire Strikes Back famously brought fans their first real glimpse at Boba Fett, a supporting character who became one of the most mysteriously popular figures in the Star Wars universe. Then Attack of the Clones explored his backstory, introducing moviegoers to a young Boba and his father Jango.
It stands to reason then that The Last Jedi may follow this tradition of introducing bounty hunters in the middle entry of each trilogy, perhaps as they search for Rey and Luke. In addition, Boba Fett is — like Obi Wan Kenobi — one of the characters who may or may not be getting a spinoff film at some point, and introducing an older Fett in The Last Jedi could help set the stage for his solo film.
6. The end of the Jedi as we know them
There’s a “Gray Jedi” mythology that stems from the Old Republic Legends stories, describing an order of Force-wielders who straddled the line between the Light and the Dark, emphasizing balance over extremes on either end of the spectrum. So how does that play into The Last Jedi?
The first trailer for the film shows Luke saying “It’s time for the Jedi to end,” hinting at something far greater for his newest apprentice, Rey. It could very well be that Luke is tired of seeing powerful young Jedi like his father and nephew fall to the Dark Side, and recognizes that the “Jedi Way” needs to be amended to account for more balance and less in the way of extreme dogma.
7. Princess Leia’s death
The tragic death of actress Carrie Fisher presents a dilemma for the future of the new trilogy. Leia has long been promised to have a significantly increased role in The Last Jedi, but with Fisher no long around to assume the character for future films, that’ll essentially be the end of her role in this current timeline.
With Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy officially confirming that we won’t see a digital recreation of Leia in Episode IX, that leaves just one possibility for her fate in The Last Jedi: her death.
8. Rey’s training under Luke
Taking into account Luke’s apparent disillusionment with the Jedi way, it seems likely that Rey’s training will be dramatically different than his own. Luke was trained in the rigid “only our side is right” morality of the old Jedi Order, and it seems as though he’s learning that’s far from how the world actually operates.
For Rey, that could very well mean her own education in the Force will be a one-of-a-kind lesson plan, emphasizing the balance between both sides of the Force over a commitment to one or the other. As Luke points out in the first trailer for the film, “it’s so much bigger” than just the Light and Dark.
9. We’ll find out what happened to Luke’s fledgling Jedi Academy
We don’t know much about the downfall of Luke’s Jedi Academy, beyond the fact that Supreme Leader Snoke corrupted a young Ben Solo, and had him help destroy the academy entirely. There’s obviously a whole lot more to it than that though, and it seems likely that we’ll find out the details in The Last Jedi.
We could get a straight telling of events from Luke, or find out in a Force flashback akin to the one Rey had in The Force Awakens.
10. More Phasma
Following the announcement of a comic series and origin novel for Captain Phasma, it seems as though Lucasfilm is priming the pump for an expanded role for the chrome-armored First Order Stormtrooper. Many fans aptly pointed out that she was vastly under-utilized in The Force Awakens, and those complaints have been heard loud and clear.
Expect more from Phasma moving forward, lest she go the way of Boba Fett and tumble down a Sarlacc pit.
Additional reporting by Nick Cannata-Bowman.
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